Alexander Santo

Knowing when you’ve done an appropriate amount of research is the first step to producing timely and relevant content.

In this week’s edition of the Content Marketing Weekly, we take a look at some expert SEO research advice from around the web. Got your coffee? Good. Here we go!

How to Conduct Pre-Research for SEO Keywords

The idea behind conducting pre-research is to make your actual research as efficient as possible.

Content Land founder and Forbes contributor Cameron Conaway discusses this concept in a recent article. Conaway had a problem: His SEO research produced measurable results, but it lacked operational efficiency. He was getting distracted by shiny new SEO tools and was spending too much time chasing the ever-changing RankBrain algorithm down dark holes.

To optimize his research, Conaway identified two concepts that he could leverage to improve his SEO research. He labeled the first “Arena States” and the second “Edge States.”

Under Conaway’s definition, keywords in the Arena State are related to your topic but are unlikely to surface in an SEO tool. These keywords are not common search terms, but Conaway argues that, in today’s competitive landscape, no audience segment can be ignored. These keywords can be very helpful for niche topics where competitors are fighting for dominance over a small set of search terms.

Conaway defines an Edge State keyword as a term that is not yet commonplace in your industry but one that could soon become more popular. These are harder to identify but worth going after for a first-mover advantage. Speaking with subject matter experts may help you identify keywords on the verge of becoming commonplace.

For examples of Arena State and Edge State keywords, read the whole article.

A Checklist: Important SEO Points to Cover in a Content Campaign

How important are article titles? Does it matter how many times you use a keyword in a paragraph? What about meta tags? Like seriously guys, what are meta tags??

At some point, every SEO and content writer has asked these questions. But when crunch time comes around, you can’t afford to refresh your basic SEO knowledge. Becoming proficient in the basics will give you more time to conduct research and write great copy.

A recent guide from Search Engine Land contributor and Aira co-founder Paddy Moogan shows you everything you need to know about on-page SEO. As Moogan notes, writing effective content requires more than a passing knowledge about keywords. In his piece, Moogan covers everything from page titles to internal linking strategies. And yes, he covers metadata.

This guide is especially useful for anyone building pages with custom HTML or cascading style sheets. When you use a template, header tags are pre-defined. You simply write a title and Google knows it’s a title. If you’re going the custom-route, you have to make sure titles are defined as such.

If that’s a surprise to you, be sure to read the entire piece.

7 Ways to Use Google Trends for SEO & Content Marketing

For small-scale SEOs and professionals just starting on their career paths, it can be hard to keep up with the big players. After all, if you don’t have access to enterprise-grade SEO research tools, how are you supposed to get your content onto the first page of Google results?

Thankfully, Google is here to lend you hand – for free. Google Trends is a free-to-use platform that shows search trends going back as far as data is available. The tool is commonly used to show trends in keyword popularity, to compare two search terms or to settle debates at the bar.

Sometimes, you just need to be able to prove that Kanye was more popular than Taylor Swift in 2016. And sometimes your friends will refuse to pay up because you “didn’t shake on it.” Such is life.

Search Engine Journal does understand the value of being a know-it-all. They created a helpful list of ways SEOs can leverage Google Trends to plan future content and create an efficient schedule. They provide several insightful tips, such as how to narrow your data set down to a relevant audience segment.

For the complete list, check out the article.

Researching for content can be a slog, or it can be an efficient use of your time. By learning how to effectively research topics and plan your SEO strategy, you can move past the boring stuff and start publishing content that people can find and enjoy.